Military History Museums in Los Angeles

Armed Forces and War Museums in LA

Even though LA hasn't seen a lot of military action, Los Angeles has a variety of museums that document and interpret military history from the Revolutionary War to WWII and the Cold War, and include exhibits of more modern military vehicles, planes, and multiple ships.

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    Fort MacArthur Military Museum Association

    Fort MacArthur Museum in San Pedro, Los Angeles, CA
    ••• Screenshot of Bing Map

    The Fort MacArthur Museum at Battery Osgood-Farley in San Pedro focuses on the history of Fort MacArthur, a U.S. Army post which guarded the Los Angeles harbor from 1914 to 1974. Multiple buildings house exhibits on harbor defense and home-front activities in Southern California.

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    American Military Museum

    American Military Museum in South El Monte, CA
    ••• Screenshot of Bing Maps

    The American Military Museum (AKA Tank Land or the Tank Museum) at the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area in El Monte has an extensive collection of inter-service military equipment from WWI through Desert Storm. Nearly 200 vehicles from tanks to amphibious vehicles and bomb loaders.

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    USS Iowa Battleship Museum

    USS Iowa in San Pedro, Los Angeles, CA
    ••• Photo © 2012 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    The USS Iowa Battleship Museum is an actual WWII battleship you can visit in San Pedro in the Port of Los Angeles. The battleship is not wheelchair accessible.

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    SS Lane Victory

    SS Lane Victory Ship Museum in Los Angeles
    ••• Photo © 2016 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    The SS Lane Victory is another museum ship located in the Port of Los Angeles. She's a WWII merchant cargo ship that served through the Vietnam War.

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    Sons of the Revolution Library

    Sons of the Revolution American Heritage Museum in Glendale, CA
    ••• Screenshot of Google Street View

    The Sons of the Revolution in the State of California has an American Heritage Library and Museum in Glendale. The Library specializes in genealogical and early American history resources with emphasis on the Colonial and Revolutionary War period. It also has a fine collection of 18th and 19th-century vital records, family histories, American military history and English genealogy. Open Mondays except​ for holidays.

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    Western Museum of Flight

    Western Museum of Flight in Torrance, CA
    ••• Screen Shot of Google Street View

    The Western Museum of Flight is not exclusively military aircraft, but they do have Warbirds, aircraft and target drones, piston and jet aircraft engines, aircraft components, aircraft ejection seats, World War II instruments, aircrew accessories, and an extensive model aircraft collection.

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    Commemorative Air Force Southern California Wing

    Commemorative Air Force Southern California Wing Aviation Museum
    ••• Screenshot of Google Map

    The Commemorative Air Force Southern California Wing operates an Aviation Museum, also known as the WWII Aviation Museum, at the Camarillo Airport with planes from World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam. Daily except for Monday. On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday visitors can observe ongoing restoration work. They are always working on different planes, so you may see different planes on different visits.

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    The Queen Mary

    Military Exhibit on the Queen Mary in Long Beach
    ••• Photo © 2016 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    In addition to her years as a luxury ocean liner, the Queen Mary served as a troop transport during WWII. The Queen Mary attraction includes a few exhibits and film reels on her military history. Also at the Queen Mary is the Russian Foxtrot Submarine Scorpion. You can't go inside the submarine anymore, but you can still see it.

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  • 09 of 11

    Drum Barracks Civil War Museum

    Drum Barracks Civil War Museum in Wilmington, CA
    ••• Screenshot of Google Street View

    The Drum Barracks Civil War Museum elucidates the role of Los Angeles and California in the Civil War. It is located in the 1862 Drum Barracks Junior Officers’ Quarters, built on land donated by Phineas Banning to create a Union presence in Southern California during the war.

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    Martial Arts History Museum

    Martial Arts History Museum
    ••• Screenshot of Google Maps Street View

    Learn about the history of martial arts and relevant weaponry in Asia and its influence in the US at this North Hollywood museum.

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    The Wende Museum

    The Wende Museum in Culver City
    ••• Rendering courtesy of the Wende Museum

    The Wende Museum in Culver City is a collection of artifacts, documents and personal histories related to Eastern Europe and Russia during the  Cold War. Exhibits include furnishings and design objects, visual arts, textiles, films, and books. The Wende's new Armory facility will open sometime in 2017.